The Best UK Road Trips

The coronavirus pandemic has really put a spanner in the works for most people’s summer holiday plans. Tourism and travel are expecting record low visitors, especially for travel abroad. As a travel blogger, this does have me worried – already I’ve had three trips cancelled. But better safe than sorry!

The UK government is now hoping that our infection rate R will be low enough by the summer for some hospitality services to reopen. So, with that in mind, here are some UK travel ideas, including beauty spots and roadtrips galore.

Cheddar Gorge, Somerset

Set within the Mendip Hills in Somerset, Cheddar Gorge was England’s top road trip according to Click4Reg who found the location was tagged almost 60,000 times on Instagram. At 400 feet deep and nearly three miles long, this collection of cliffs is well worth a visit.

Lake District

One of the most beautiful lakes in the world, Britain’s largest National Park and World Heritage Site in Cumbria was tagged over 2 million times on Instagram, according to data from Faraway Garden Furniture. It’s a spectacular beauty spot in the UK and makes for an ideal walking holiday or day trip.

IMAGE CREDIT: Daniel Kay

Hardknott Pass was rated as one of England’s top road tripping destinations, too. So, kill two birds with one stone by visiting this stunning nature site, while also experiencing an exciting journey.

Peak District

This National Park spans across Derbyshire, Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Staffordshire and Yorkshire, so if you live in any of these areas count yourself lucky to have such a stunning spot on your doorstep. As well as being a top walking destination, according to data commissioned by Click4Reg, two popular road trips cross through this site.

READ MORE: The most beautiful lakes in the world

Snake Pass, was hashtagged over 12,000 times on Instagram. The road links cities in Greater Manchester and North Yorkshire and is often used by commuters. But it still ranks highly as a destination in its own right, especially for cyclists and driving enthusiasts. Woodhead Pass was less popular, with just under 2,000 hashtags. This route is a major A road, but utterly beautiful as it passes through the Pennines.

New Forest

Home to ponies galore, the New Forest in Hampshire is a nature lover’s dream. Featuring winding forest trails, points of historical interest and rare species of birds and mammals. It’s also one of only three parks in the UK that is still governed by verderers, who keep an eye on the fair usage of the park as a grounds for cattle grazing. If you’re keen to encounter animal life during your nature walks, then this is the perfect place for you.

IMAGE CREDIT: Chris Button

London to Bristol

The Great West Way is an iconic 125 mile drive that will take you from central London to the vibrant city of Bristol, with tons of historic points of interest along the way. I’ve driven this route myself and it’s difficult to concentrate on the road when you’re faced with such epic scenery, like Windsor Castle and Stonehenge. If you’re not up to driving such a long way in one day, you can plan a short tour with stops in different towns along the way – but perhaps wait until the pandemic subsides a little bit. In the meantime, you can take a virtual tour instead.

Somerset to Cornwall

If you’re based in the South West and looking for a scenic coastal and countryside route, then the Atlantic Highway is ideal. The entire route spans three counties – Somerset, Devon and Cornwall – and would take almost 8 hours. While in lockdown, even though it’s eased slightly, it’s difficult to justify that kind of mileage. So consider taking short day trips along the route. You’ll see the best of British countryside, while being able to visit some major cities and landmarks.

READ MORE: Exploring Exeter, Devon

Once the pandemic subsides and tourism picks up again, it’ll be worth travelling the whole route, stopping off in different towns along the way. You’ll get a mixture of stunning rural scenes, like Exmoor National Park, and breezy coastal views, especially once you hit Cornwall. Plus, you can visit the westernmost point of the UK’s mainland: Land’s End.

A beach view of Land’s End

READ MORE: A trip to Falmouth, Cornwall

Even if the hospitality sector doesn’t reopen, you might be lucky enough to live nearby one of these spots for a day trip. Pack your own lunch and away you go!

Please be sure to check before you travel as many of these parks will still be closed. Please do not immediately flock to our open spaces. Maintain social distancing as much as you can.

Travel Tips: Last-Minute Packing

I am a disorganised traveller. Having grown up as a British Airways staff-traveller, booking holidays last-minute has become second-nature. Worse still, packing for week-long holidays the night before we were due to fly became customary. My most recent trip abroad saw me scrambling on a Friday night, trying to pack everything away in time for a flight on Saturday morning.* So, with that in mind, I want to share some of my top packing tips for disorganised or busy travellers; let me paint you a picture…

Continue reading Travel Tips: Last-Minute Packing

Winter Getaway: Bruges, Belgium

Holiday season is fast approaching, and with Brexit on the horizon, now might be the best time to pack your bags and book an impromptu long weekend. And what better place to visit than a small city with good beer, good chocolate and a good belfry? That’s right I’m talking about Bruges, Belgium.

Oh yes, that Bruges… And I promise, it’s not as boring as Brendan Gleeson would have you believe…

Continue reading Winter Getaway: Bruges, Belgium

San Francisco in Three Days

I recently went to an Indian wedding abroad in the state of California, so there was no way we could pass up a trip to The Bay! But having spent a week at the wedding itself (there’ll be another post all about that don’t you worry), we wanted to make the most out of a very short space of time. And of course, the responsibility of creating an itinerary falls to the eldest, the first-born, the only organised person in the family; me. So without further ado, I give you my Three-Day Itinerary for San Francisco:

1. Alcatraz

No trip to the Bay would be complete without a visit to The Rock, and at just a short mile away, you’d be daft to pass up the trip! But make sure to book in advance – Alcatraz tours sell out months beforehand, and it’s one of the most interesting and eerie places I’ve visited in a long time. The audio-guide is also a must – taking you through the ghost halls and recalling the history of the prison, from back when it was a military fort of strategic value, to the occupation of The Rock by various Native American groups.

Be sure to block out the entire day though – while the ferry trip takes almost no time at all, the exploration of the island can take absolutely hours, and the last thing you should do is rush through it.

2. The Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco’s most iconic landmark. Always best on a sunny day, when the fog and mist can’t obscure the view of such an incredible structure, the Golden Gate Bridge is a true testament to human ingenuity. Suspended entirely over water, carrying thousands of vehicles and people each day, the bridge is a wonder to behold. Built in X by Y, the bridge has stood the test of time, and has been modified as technology advances, to keep it safe and operational on a daily basis. It took my breath away and is one of the reasons I left my heart in San Francisco.

The Golden Gate Bridge

3. Chinatown

Aside from skyscrapers and financial districts, there is one thing that all major cities have in common – Chinatown. And as an ethic minority myself, nothing brings me greater joy than seeing other minorities band together to create their spaces. Fundamentally, every Chinatown is the same – a range of restaurants, shops and markets, created by and for East Asians. But Chinatown in San Francisco blew me away, because it showcased street art the likes of which I have never seen before; not even in Shoreditch.


4. Fisherman’s Wharf

If you live near a harbour or pier, you might not understand why there’s so much hype surrounding Fisherman’s Wharf, but it really is worth it. With fresh seafood being served on every corner, and various museums and activities placed at the different piers, it’s worth exploring, especially if you’re making the trip to Alcatraz.

In particular, be sure to check out Pier 39, which is home to some truly beautiful sea lions. Displaced after a natural disaster, they have made Pier 39 their home, and are well-loved by both tourists and locals.

5. Lombard Street

Perhaps the simplest and yet most stunning site in San Francisco is this small residential street at the top of a hill. Famous for its zig-zag shape, Lombard Street is like something out of a fairytale. The houses stand tall, bright and full of foliage, and the road meanders downhill, showcasing the stunning view of the city below.

The famous San Francisco tram network has a stop right by this popular tourist spot, and I fully recommend taking a trip between Lombard Street and Fisherman’s Wharf via tram. You get to see the whole city and experience the novelty of vintage trams! The best one was Powell and Hyde St, so definitely check that out.

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San Francisco tram network

San Francisco is one of the more exciting cities I’ve visited in a long time, and we covered a wide area of the city, hitting all the major landmarks. After living in London and Madrid, my expectations are pretty high, but as a big fan of The Princess Diaries, I had a fantastic time re-living my childhood and pretending to be the Princess of Genovia.

photography of red bridge under white and gray sky
Photo by zoe pappas on Pexels.com

5 Spanish Stereotypes

Stereotypes Which I’ve Found To Be Totally True

1. Siestas. For about three hours every day, most shops are closed to enjoy lunch and an afternoon chit-chat session. The exceptions are the bigger, international brands like Primark and Zara, which tend to remain open, but are usually pretty quiet. In terms of banks and public services, though, forget about it – once they’re closed for siesta, they rarely reopen.

2. Mañana culture is real. So real. Don’t expect anything to get done for deadline unless you ask for it three weeks in advance. On the other hand, if you don’t get things done by the deadline they’ve set, expect all hell to break loose.

3. Fiestas. Spain has tons of fiestas. If a city is celebrating a fiesta, all rules are broken. For example, drinking on the streets is illegal most of the year, but during fiesta days the botellon culture takes over. And I love it. Because even though people drink on the streets, they aren’t getting drunk the way us Brits do on holiday; Spain’s relationship with alcohol is, dare I say, healthy.

4. Spanish Speaking Speed. Spanish people speak so, so quickly. Especially if they think you can speak Spanish too. They’ll run with it and you’ll just have to smile and nod.

5. Iberian Passion. While the Spanish people I’ve met haven’t necessarily been short tempered, they’ve all had their moments of passion. Whether it’s over heating bills or The Lion King, when they’re particularly invested in something, they really fight for it. Honestly, it’s fantastic to see such conviction in one’s beliefs.